Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr showed solid growth in 2012, with gross revenues for the first time crossing the $1 billion threshold.
Profits per partner rose 6 percent to $1.46 million, up from $1.375 in 2011, while gross revenue climbed 8 percent from $994 million to $1.076 billion.
"It was a busy and satisfying year for the firm," said co-managing partner Robert Novick. "We built on our core strengths. In a market like this, it’s critical to play to your strengths and not try to be all things to all people."
Novick flagged litigation, intellectual property, securities, regulatory and governmental affairs and transaction practices as the firm’s central areas.
Among the highlights in 2012: representing Apple Inc. in its global patent fight with Samsung Electronics Co., including a federal court trial in San Jose where Apple won a billion-dollar jury verdict (reduced on March 1 to $599 million).
Firm lawyers also continued to represent BP in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon accident; assisted HSBC with congressional and other inquiries; represented Japanese auto parts firm Denso and its US subsidiary in a criminal antitrust investigation and civil class action litigation; and represented the audit committee of Best Buy in an internal investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct by the company’s then-CEO.
On the transactional front, firm lawyers served as issuers’ counsel or underwriters’ counsel in more than 30 public offerings and Rule 144A placements raising approximately $10 billion in 2012; advised on more than 100 M&A transactions worth $15 billion; completed more than 200 venture capital financings and negotiated more than 100 technology transactions and licensing deals in the life sciences and high-tech industries.
"It was the full range of work —all our practices were firing at the same time," Novick said. Net income at the firm rose from $409 million to $432 million, and Novick said efforts to reduce costs were bearing fruit. The firm’s business services center in Dayton is now two years old, and in July, Wilmer moved its offices in New York from midtown to downtown.
However, revenue per lawyer in 2012 declined a fraction to $1.12 million, a reflection of increased headcount – Wilmer grew by 77 lawyers to 961. However, the number of equity partners dropped by one, to 296.